Electric Cars

Phil Ting's picture

I just had a meeting yesterday with BYD - the Chinese electric car manufacturer who was on the cover of Fortune because Warren Buffet made a $2billion investment in them.  What do we need to do to have 1,000 electric cars in SF.  We should start building the infrastructure today to encourage more plug in hybrids and electric cars.  If we have charging stations all around town, will this incentivize people to buy electric cars?  If we build it, will they come?

NKlein82's picture

Great Question, Phil!

I was looking into electric vehicles recently and I know that there is a great desire for these cars.  I saw "Who Killed the Electric Car?" recently and I know that all the people who purchased GM's EV1 want the new electric vehicles that are going to roll out soon.  I also have researched electric vehicle charging stations and found that there is an extensive effort in the Bay Area to have public charging stations, at major public accommodations and in the private garages of major employers.  The Bay Area Electric Vehicle Corridor has worked for several years to "make the San Francisco Bay Area the nation's EV capital" and Coloumb Technologies has received stimulus funds to build 5,000 public electric vehicle charging stations in nine metropolitan cities across the U.S., including San Francisco.

I just wish that car manufacturers could make electric vehicles more aesthetically pleasing.  So far, most of the electric or hybrid vehicles I have seen are generally not aesthetically pleasing.  The exceptions are the Chevy Volt and either the Tesla Roadster or their new sedan, you can check out Tesla's website at http://www.teslamotors.com/.  I really think that we need to encourage manufacturers to produce more aesthetically pleasing electric vehicles to ensure that these cars become more popular.

TheRealGCS's picture

Public transportation

I think it's a good thing for people who have cars to be encouraged to own electric or hybrid, but in a big city like SF, shouldn't government's focus be on public transportation improvements?

I'd like to see us encourage more use of public transportation with a better system that can take you around the city reasonably fast and cheaply. It's a priority question that deals not only with the environmental concerns, but also a quality of life improvement. Less cars on city streets means we can get around the city faster on buses, electric taxicabs, etc.

Phil Ting's picture

Public Transit First then Electric Cars

You're absolutely right!  We are a Transit First city - we should be encouraging people to ride transit, bike or walk first and cars should only be a second option.  But since we know people are going to own cars, how do we get them to go electric?  We need to continue our planning policy to put transit first.  We shouldn't be taking money away from the MUNI budget, but we should be thinking if there are some minimal costs we can spend to install plugs and charging stations around town to encourage electric vehicles.

Phil Ting's picture

Nissan Leaf beats out Chevy Volt

The Nissan Leaf will get a larger state subsidy than the Chevy Volt because it is a no emissions vehicle, while the Chevy Volt is a plug in hybrid car.  Probably a difference between $5,000 to $3,000.  The cost of the Leaf with US and CA rebates will be a little over $20K.  It's great to finally have an affordable electric car as a viable option for people who want to do the right thing.


Zaquex's picture

When the Fad Dies?

The popularity of hybrid cars wore off dramatically after 2007. Even 2006-2007 data shows, San Francisco's registry of new hybrid cars decreasing. As electric cars are gaining momentum, what will happen after the fad fades?

Shouldn't we place more incentives, such as carpool stickers or lanes dedicated to fuel-efficient cars, to keep the hybrids and electric cars favorable?

Good bit of news is John Horton, President of San Francisco Toyota, "notes that all car sales are down, post-recession, and that hybrids are no exception, adding that the rest of the country is just catching up to how popular hybrids have been in the Bay Area." That also means that the rest of country will move on after the fad back to gas-guzzling cars.

Phil Ting's picture


We are definitely going to need incentives to get people to give up their gaz guzzling cars for low emissions and fuel efficient vehicles.  Incentives will make a huge difference.  We should also think about what incentives we can give to have people ride MUNI and take public transit.  That would be best alternative.

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